Vigorous exercise like running, jumping rope, and sports like tennis, basketball and soccer are great ways to burn some calories and build endurance while having a lot of fun. But, unfortunately, they can be awfully hard on the joints, especially as we age.
A lot of people think they have to give up strenuous exercise if they suffer from joint paint, but not exercising isn’t a good solution to this problem. Lack of exercise can actually make your joints more stiff and painful, because maintaining strong muscles and the surrounding tissue is critical to maintaining support for your bones. Abstaining from exercise might feel good in the short term, but over the long term, not exercising weakens those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints.
Let’s look at 5 types of exercise that are easy on the joints.
5 Great Low-Impact Cardio Workouts
1. Dive in – water workouts, whether you are swimming laps or taking an aquatics class, are great options if your goal is to protect your joints. Water workouts are non-weigh bearing and can be both strenuous cardio workouts as well as strength building workouts since water provides resistance as you move.
2. Hop on two wheels – if you haven’t hopped on two wheels since you were a kid, now may be the time to remember that you never forget how to ride a bike! Whether you decide to cruise your neighborhood streets or come to the gym for a heart pounding ride in one of our indoor cycling studios, bike riding is an excellent cardio and strength building activity that is completely low impact.
3. Step on a machine – running on a treadmill isn’t the only machine option available on the gym fitness floor. A key advantage to these machines is that your feet never leave the pedals, so they are completely low impact. Elliptical trainers are very versatile and often include features like variable resistance, incline, adjustable stride lengths and more. Air gliders, also known as arc trainers, are a non-impact cross between a stair stepper and an elliptical and require you to swing your legs back and forth in an arcing, pendulum-like motion. These machines are equipped with variable resistance and incline. The higher the incline the more the movement feels like a stair stepper. The lower the incline the more the motion feels like running.
4. Row, row, row – the rowing machine may not be the trendiest piece of equipment on the fitness floor, but it can provide fast and impressive results because it simultaneously exercises the muscles of the arms, back, abdominals and legs and is a great way to burn fat and build muscle.
5. Put a little spring in your step – ever heard of urban rebounding? It’s a workout conducted on a mini trampoline and it may be the single most fun workout you’ve never tried. Although not completely workout, trampoline minimize the force of impact on the feet and ankles by distributing it throughout the whole body. This significantly reduces the risk of bone and joint injuries. In addition to being great cardio training, trampoline workouts can also improve lymphocyte activity by allowing increased efficiency in transporting immune system cells to the body.
So, whether you are suffering from arthritis or just general aches and pains, don’t stop moving! There are always options to keep you safely active.
Check out the Cornerstone Class schedules to view our various low-impact cardio classes, or stop by for a visit and sample some of the great equipment on our fitness floors.